MANILA — The Department of Education (DepEd) said it would study the proposal of Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian and other education stakeholders as there are no plans yet to revert the schedule of the school break to April and May.
“At the moment, there are no plans to revert. As mentioned in a previous statement, school heads have the discretion to suspend in-person classes and immediately switch to alternative delivery modes or blended learning if the environment is not conducive to learning,” DepEd spokesman Michael Poa told reporters yesterday.
“We will take note of the suggestions and study the matter,” Poa added.
He was responding to Gatchalian’s proposal to revert to the previous school calendar, as the senator cited the impact of extreme heat on students.
Last week, more than 100 students in a school in Laguna were rushed to hospital after experiencing symptoms of heat exhaustion during an unannounced fire and earthquake drill.
The Alliance of Concerned Teachers, citing an online survey of over 11,700 teachers, also noted support for proposals to revert to the previous school break schedule.
In a statement last Tuesday, Poa said schools may suspend classes if the conditions become unbearable, such as the occurrence of extreme heat.
“Subject to reportorial requirements with the division office, our school heads/principals have always had the discretion to suspend in-person classes if the environment is no longer conducive to learning. That’s on a case-to-case basis,” he said.
“Further, it is already our SOP (standard operating procedure) that whenever in-person classes are suspended, learners are immediately switched to blended learning or ADMs (alternative delivery modes),” he added.
During previous administrations, the DepEd had specifically cited extreme heat as a reason for rejecting calls to move the opening of classes from June to August or September.
Class disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, however, forced the agency to move the opening of classes to October that year.
The shift affected subsequent schedules, with classes starting in August last year for the current school year.
In an earlier department order, Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte also set the opening of the next two school years in August.